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Khalilzad returns to Doha, ‘disappointed’ over high levels of violence

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(Last Updated On: October 27, 2020)

The US State Department said on Tuesday their Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad will meet with negotiating teams in Doha to press both sides to immediately reduce the levels of violence that Afghan civilians are forced to bear. 

According to a statement issued by the US State Department Khalilzad’s trip comes on the heels of his visit to Oslo where he discussed international coordination and support of the Afghan peace process with Norweigan officials. 

Too many Afghans are dying. The sides urgently need an agreement on a reduction of violence leading to a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire,” read the statement. 

“Along with international partners, Ambassador Khalilzad will press the two negotiating teams to accelerate their efforts and agree to a political roadmap that ends Afghanistan’s 40-year-long war. The sides must move past procedure and into substantive negotiations. American and international assistance remains available to all sides,” the statement read. 

Khalilzad meanwhile said in a series of tweets on Tuesday night that he returns “to the region disappointed that despite commitments to lower violence, it has not happened.”

“The window to achieve a political settlement will not stay open forever,” he said.

“Intransigence and a refusal to abandon animosity, embrace fellow citizens, and agree on a formula for political cooperation/competition underpin the ongoing war.”

Khalilzad said: “Afghans are dying at a high rate, and regional spoilers are using Afghans as cannon fodder for their illegitimate objectives.  Bloodshed must end.

“Afghans need to pivot to development instead of destruction, stability instead of chaos, forgiveness instead of vengeance, compromise instead of inflexibility,” he said.

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UN Security Council to meet over situation in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: September 26, 2022)

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is scheduled to hold a meeting on Tuesday that will focus on the current situation in Afghanistan.

UNSC members are expected to discuss economic, humanitarian and security concerns.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) spokesman Bilal Karimi said the IEA welcomed meetings that are held with the aim of cooperating with the government and people of Afghanistan.

He also said that Afghans expect cooperation and that such meetings must be held in accordance with international laws and principles.

However, the IEA still does not have a designated UN representative – one year after taking control of the country.

Instead, Naseer Ahmad Faiq, who assumed leadership of the Afghan mission to the UN in December last year, will address the security council members.

The IEA does not however recognize him as the legitimate envoy to the UN.

In a series of tweets on Monday, Faiq said that he would address the security council meeting and speak on behalf of Afghans.

“On behalf of Afghans, in this important meeting, like always, I would like to raise the voice of my nation,” he said.

In September last year, the IEA asked the UN to accredit Suhail Shaheen, the head of the IEA’s political office in Qatar, as the new ambassador.

But in December, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution in which it indefinitely delayed a decision over the rival claims to the representative seat for Afghanistan.

At the time, the IEA criticized the UN’s failure to decide on this issue, saying it was ignoring the rights of the Afghan people.

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Influential Muslim cleric al-Qaradawi dies at 96

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(Last Updated On: September 26, 2022)

Senior Muslim cleric Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, who was based in Qatar, died on Monday, according to a post on his official Twitter account.

The cleric was an Egyptian Islamic scholar and was chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars.

He was best known for his programme al-Sharīʿa wa al-Ḥayāh (“Sharia and Life”), broadcast on Al Jazeera, which has an estimated audience of 40–60 million worldwide.

He is also known for IslamOnline, a website he helped to found in 1997 and for which he served as chief religious scholar.

Al-Qaradawi published more than 120 books, and received eight international prizes for his contributions to Islamic scholarship, and is considered one of the most influential Islamic scholars today.

Al-Qaradawi has long had a prominent role within the intellectual leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Egyptian political organization, although he repeatedly stated that he was no longer a member. He has over the years been critical of Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

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US spy satellite launched into orbit from California

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(Last Updated On: September 26, 2022)

A classified satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office launched into orbit aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta 4 Heavy rocket on Saturday.

The NROL-91 spy satellite lifted off at 3:25 p.m. from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California’s Santa Barbara County, AP reported.

It was the last launch of a Delta 4 from the West Coast. Additional launches are planned from Florida before the Deltas are replaced by ULA’s next-generation Vulcan Centaur rockets.

The Delta IV Heavy configuration first launched in December 2004. This was the 387th flight of a Delta rocket since 1960 and the 95th and final launch from Vandenberg.

The National Reconnaissance Office is the government agency in charge of developing, building, launching and maintaining U.S. spy satellites that provide intelligence data to policymakers, the intelligence community and Defense Department.

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